Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Written Output Disorder

Sounds like something a computer might have, doesn't it.  Unfortunately, this term applies to my 8 year old daughter.  Unfortunate, because it's probably the one thing that's keeping her from really moving forward in her education.

She has come great strides with her reading and while she tires easily and sometimes will still balk at reading full pages of text, she can at least do it at almost her age level.

What do you do though when your child is full of stories and can't write them out.  She has tried writing countless books/magazines, taking great trouble to put them together and colour pictures to go along but she almost always gives up because she can't write it out and we don't always have the time or patience to sit down and write it out for her.  Of course, this was before we realized that it wasn't normal for her to not be able spell at her age.  We kept thinking eventually she will get it.


Writing Sample. I couldn't even tell you what it's supposed to say. 


I'm sorry, I may be getting ahead of myself.  You might not know what I'm even talking about. To put it simply:
Written Output Disorder - The inability to write legibly and coherently for one's age and is considered to be a learning disability.    
It's like something isn't clicking in her brain.  She can learn to memorize words and how to spell them enough to make pass most tests but when it comes to jotting down her thoughts and stories, she can't recall any but the easiest words to spell.  Even phonetically she can't sound them out.  Phonetics doesn't work at all for her.  Doesn't make sense to her.  It's like she hears the words differently.

What's more from what I have read about this disorder is that if a child hasn't mastered writing by mid grade three, they are unlikely to.  Although you should never give up trying, there is a good possibility it will never get any better.  That has to be the epitome of discouragement for a parent to read.

Especially when they suggest turning to technology to get around these issues and to help boost her performance in class.  That's all fine and dandy for parents with hefty checkbooks.  Not so fine for two parents who are struggling to keep their business afloat and three children housed, clothed and fed.  I thought of giving up my own precious laptop only the software we need to use is too new and too heavy for my 6 year old relic.   What's a mom to do?  With no real funding available until we get a firm diagnosis for the autism it's almost heartbreaking to think we are stuck here in this unending circle of need.

Then we don't even know if they will choose to assess her at the Autism Centre.  Apparently so many children are being diagnosed with some form of Autism on the chart that they only have the resources to assess those that are young (for early intervention) or have more extreme symptoms.  I am sure some of you can understand the frustration as a parent as every symptom of Aspergers simply screams your child only to know that there is no extra financial support in class or counselling etc until that diagnosis comes through.

Still God is good and I have to remember that.  Because there was another special needs child in her class this past year, who didn't need quite so much support, she was able to benefit from the presence of an EA. While sometimes it made her feel bad because she felt different getting the extra help, the class was able to continue on around her.  Her teacher, who also experienced troubles in her youth with learning difficulties, is incredibly caring and supportive and able to coach her through some of her greatest struggles. I don't think we could have made it through this school year without her.

Being a voracious reader, writer and story teller myself, I can't even imagine what it would be like to not have basic writing or spelling skills. I can't imagine the frustration she must feel as she tries to "draw" each letter instead of just writing them automatically. It's so heartbreaking to know she feels stupid and hates that her brain learns different from others.

In the meantime, I am going to continue to read, read and read some more of ways to help my child in practicing these important skills.    There is one blog out there called Written Output Disorder A Parent's Perspective that is worth reading even though she hasn't posted since 2010.  In it she shares some of what she's been doing for her child who is also a "spatial learner".

Do you or someone you know have Written Output Disorder?  If so, I'd love to hear your story, what you are doing or have done and whether you or someone you know were able to overcome this.

Zeemaid

2 comments:

  1. Oh wow. Your poor daughter; she must get so frustrated at times. And it this sounds a lot like me. I still suck at phonetic spelling or even saying names I've only seen. My mom swears I had some learning disorder but because this was the early 80s and I went to private school, I was under the radar. When I was really young, my mom would would write letters in crayon and then had me trace them with my finger. In Catholic school, there was a whole class on handwriting every day. To compensate for the phonetic words, I just had to look everything up in the dictionary. Which was hard for years because I couldn't get into the ballpark sometimes to find the right word. I hope you can find the resources you need. My mom always took the squeaky wheel approach. And she used to make me sit and watch "Where there's a will, there's an A" over and f-ing over. Totally sucked at the time, but as I got older, I got better and better at school because of learning how to learn.

    Good luck. I'm always here if you need to vent some frustration.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh wow. Your poor daughter; she must get so frustrated at times. And it this sounds a lot like me. I still suck at phonetic spelling or even saying names I've only seen. My mom swears I had some learning disorder but because this was the early 80s and I went to private school, I was under the radar. When I was really young, my mom would would write letters in crayon and then had me trace them with my finger. In Catholic school, there was a whole class on handwriting every day. To compensate for the phonetic words, I just had to look everything up in the dictionary. Which was hard for years because I couldn't get into the ballpark sometimes to find the right word. I hope you can find the resources you need. My mom always took the squeaky wheel approach. And she used to make me sit and watch "Where there's a will, there's an A" over and f-ing over. Totally sucked at the time, but as I got older, I got better and better at school because of learning how to learn.

    Good luck. I'm always here if you need to vent some frustration.

    ReplyDelete

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